Buddhism And The Poetry Of Jac Essay

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Buddhism and the Poetry of Jack Kerouac

For we all go back where we came from,
God’s Lit Brain, his Transcendent Eye of Wisdom

And there’s your bloody circle called Samsara by the ignorant
Buddhists, who will still be funny Masters up there, bless em.

Jack Kerouac
-from Heaven

     Jack Kerouac spent his creative years writing in a prosperous post world war II America. He was in many ways a very patriotic person who had no problem making known his love for his country , particularly within his literature. It was, quite literally, America that he was in love with. Taking cues from writers such as Whitman, he embraced the American landscape as a field for spiritual cultivation. Kerouac was
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Kerouac was a devoted student of the Buddhist way and would often impress his peers with his knowledge of the Sutras and other Buddhist texts and ideas. This is particularly interesting when it is considered that these peers were other students of Buddhism such as Gary Snyder or even Philip Whalen, who is an ordained Zen monk. In fact, Kerouac was so immersed in Buddhist thought that in 1956 he completed the manuscript to what would become a 420 page book titled Some Of The Dharma, which was a collection of notes and thoughts on various ideas taken from the Sutras. Included also were numerous poems and prose poems, which were attempts to transliterate the ancient wisdom of Buddhism into a modern context, applicable to the western intellectual and spiritual journeyman. Some of the Dharma was to be a study guide for the beginning practice of Kerouac’s good friend and companion Allen Ginsberg.
While Kerouac was writing what was perhaps his best and certainly one of his most spiritually driven novels, Desolation Angels, he was also writing a poem to accompany the novel which was titled Desolation Blues. Although written after Kerouac was no longer up on Desolation Peak serving as a fire lookout in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, it was a reflection upon the many contemplations provoked by the solitude and serenity of the time he spent alone atop the mountain. From the opening line he has recognized an inherently Buddhist view of the world
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